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Soldier's First Season

Photo by Timothy C. FlaniganBy Douglas J. Saffell

-- Here I was at the young age of 36 and getting ready for the deer season to open. I was all ready to go and the night was closing in. I went to bed around 8 p.m. and awoke early the next morning to head out to the area my post commander said we soldiers could hunt.

I woke up with a terrible headache and was coughing a lot and realized I had come down with a cold from being in the field the past two nights. I decided I did not want to miss my first hunting trip. I went with a friend of mine that had been hunting for about 12 years, and he was going to teach me all I needed to know to take a deer.

We got to our area about 4:45 a.m. and were able to go into the woods 90 minutes before sunrise. I was excited and certainly afraid of experiencing "Buck Fever." After sitting in the area for about three hours, we had seen absolutely nothing. My friend said we were going to move to a different area where he knew the deer traveled.

We left the woods and went about 5 miles to another area and set up. I was perched on a fallen tree and my friend went about 500 meters to my left and sat in a treestand. I sat on the tree for maybe two hours before I began to get hungry. I decided that I would go and get some lunch and return to the area after I ate.

As I slowly walked out of the woods, there was a 10-point buck eating some acorns. I spooked it by the time I saw him. It took three leaps and a bound and was gone. I chased off my first buck.

I went out again the following weekend and sat in an area for about four hours and did not see a deer. I decided to take a break and return to the area around 3:30 p.m. for an evening hunt. As I walked across a field, I jumped a huge buck that had a beautiful rack. I thought this would be a great buck for a beginner. However, the buck took three leaps and a bound and was gone. I sat there for two hours praying to the deer gods that the buck would return.

The day was coming to an end, and I knew I need to start walking out of the woods. I decided to head along the edge of a wood line. As I was quietly exited, I spotted a spike and right next to it was a 4-point buck. As I was about to squeeze the trigger, a 6-point buck picked up its head and I took the shot. I hit the buck and watched it run about 30 yards.

I found out that another soldier took a 14-point buck the following in the area I harvested my buck. Needless to say, I am totally hooked on hunting and I'm determined to take a trophy buck.

Douglas J. Saffell
Fort Campbell, Kentucky

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